Diné volleyball player selected to 2 national teams

Sandia High Nakooma Pelt has been invited to compete with two high performance volleyball teams later this summer. Pelt’s mother, Kimberly Belone, hired trainers two years ago to help her make the team.


While Nakooma Pelt chases her dreams, her mother, Kimberly Belone, makes them come true.

Since Pelt, an incoming junior at Sandia High School, started playing volleyball they have worked together to get Pelt to be the competitive volleyball player she has vowed to be.

Over the last year, the two, along with trainers and family members, have worked to get Pelt on the national stage and succeeded. Pelt was recently selected for two high performance national volleyball teams: USA Girls’ Youth National A2 Invitational Team Program and the 2017 Sun Country High Performance All-Star. She was also on a wait list for the USA Girls’ Youth A1 National Training Team Program.

Pelt said she worked toward the selection for some time.

“I think going into the tryout I was really confident because I knew what worked for me and I knew what I needed to work on, so when I went in I was very confident and I just kind of had fun,” she said. “That’s one of the big changes now; just having fun instead of trying to focus on the little things — that’s what made a big difference.”

Pelt has spent the last four years trying to make the USA Girls’ Youth National A2 Invitational Team Program. She was selected this year after trying out in Chicago, Illinois where she was one of 128 girls chosen throughout the country. She will head to Colorado Springs, Colorado from July 26-August 1 where she will participate in the skills camp and competition coaches by college volleyball coaches from throughout the country.

She was one of 12 girls chosen for the 2017 Sun Country High Performance All-Star team after four tryouts. With the team she will travel to Texas Tech University to train from July 13-15 and then to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida from July 17-23 to compete with the team in the USA High Performance Championships.

Pelt said the two opportunities is what she longed for and she’s ready for it.

“I’ve always been working hard with my trainers and my coaches. I really started to find the mistakes I was making and I could improve them better because I understood how to fix them and when to fix it, and it kind of helped me get smarter,” she said. “Playing with my friends, we always played with the top level; playing at that level has helped me with these competitions. It’s made me smarter and (helped) build my skills.”

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Categories: Volleyball

About Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at sunnie@navajotimes.com or via cell at (505) 686-0769.